Biomass

Are wood pellets easy to get hold of?

Yes. Wood pellets are available from a number of manufacturers and specialists suppliers throughout the UK. Wood pellets can be bought in bags of varying sizes or delivered in bulk by tanker.

Can a wood pellet boiler replace oil, LPG and electricity?

Biomass boilers are the ideal replacement technology for oil, LPG and electricity. By installing a biomass boiler, your heating costs and CO2 emissions will be reduced. With the Governments RHI, you will turn your heating costs into a heating income.

Do I need a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Extract from Building Regulations, Approved Document J, (applicable in England & Wales)

Clause 2.34 – ‘Where a new or replacement fixed solid fuel appliance is installed in a dwelling, a Carbon Monoxide alarm should be provided in the room where the appliance is located’.

Solid Fuel – Extract from HETAS ‘Protect yourself from CO’
Have your appliance serviced and cleaned regularly by a qualified engineer. Ensure your chimney is kept clear by having it swept at frequent intervals by a HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep. Make sure the installation complies with Building Regulations guidance. The guidance is there to protect you. Fit an audible CO alarm conforming to BS EN 50291:2002 and positioned in accordance with Building Regulations Approved Document J requirements.

How does a Biomass boiler work?

They are usually fed automatically with wood chips or pellets from a store on site. If you have the space, we would recommend installing a store that can hold a year’s supply of fuel. This minimises transport and delivery costs for fuel, as well as ensuring there is plenty of fuel to cover the colder months without risking running low.

If you have a small heating requirement, then you may feel it acceptable to fill your boiler by hand, this saves you on space and will greatly reduce the upfront installation costs. Pellets come in 10 or 15kg bags and there is only a slight uplift in pricing for delivery this way. We have a hand-fill biomass boiler in our showroom, please feel free to come in for a full demonstration.

Maintenance is minimal, requiring only basic monthly user checks and an annual engineering service and clean-out. Depending on the heating season and usage you will need to empty any ash from the pellets, this happens once every 6 to 12 months and is a quick process as most of our boilers come fitted with an automatic ash box.

Please click here to view our video answering some frequently asked questions regarding running a biomass boiler and wood pellet fuel.

What fuel does a Biomass boiler use

Almost all biomass materials can be burned in biomass boilers, but the majority of the systems we install operate
on wood chips or wood pellets.

On a small scale almost any biomass material can be burned in a batch fed boiler including straw, wood offcuts, waste wood, and logs. It should be noted that the burning of waste wood and offcuts may be subject to the Waste Incineration Directive which prohibits the burning of materials contaminated by heavy metals (e.g. lead based paint) and halogenated organic compounds (e.g. some pesticides, sheep dip and similar materials).

We use a wood pellet boiler in our showroom for our under-floor heating and we are always happy for you to pop in and see how easy it is to live with.

Please click here to view our video answering some frequently asked questions regarding running a biomass boiler and wood pellet fuel.

What is a Biomass boiler

Biomass boilers can deliver water temperatures up to 85°C, making them an ideal replacement for inefficient and ageing Oil, LPG and electrically fired boilers.

Biomass boilers are most commonly used in conjunction with radiators, under-floor heating and hot water

Austria is the home of biomass/pellet heating, boilers manufactured here are considered to be amongst the most reliable and efficient.

Please click here to view our video answering some frequently asked questions regarding running a biomass boiler and wood pellet fuel.

Who are my local wood-pellet suppliers?

Wood pellets are readily available throughout the UK. We recommend Forever Fuels as local suppliers.

They are a leading specialist supplier of top quality (ENplus A1) virgin-fibre wood pellets, located in Newmarket, Suffolk. Please click here to see further details.

ENPlus Certification

The ENplus quality certification is a step towards establishing pellets as a widely used energy commodity. National standards and certifications are replaced by one uniform system based on the EN 14961-2 standard for wood pellets. In January 2012 the system was agreed upon by the European Pellet Council and enjoys the support of large parts of the European pellet sector.

From Spring 2015, if you are in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme or looking to install a boiler and receive the RHI funding, you will need buy your fuel from suppliers who are on the Biomass Suppliers List (biomass-suppliers-list.service.gov.uk). You will also need to keep receipts to prove where you have purchased your fuel from.

 Do Biomass Boilers give off pollution? 

Eco Installer follow strict rules when designing wood burning flues. This ensures that any domestic property near the system is safe from harm. The biomass boiler produces many fewer parts per million than a log burner.


Wood Pellets

Can I replace my gas or oil boiler with a wood pellet boiler?

Yes you can provided that you have enough space. A wood pellet boiler is as automated and easy to use as a gas or oil boiler and can also supply a similar heat output. It is important to note that these are boiler heating systems, not kitchen appliances.

Can I use my current radiators and plumbing?

Yes, provided they are in good condition and were originally designed to be of a suitable size and specification for your building. And if your current radiators are in poor condition or are unsuitably sized for the heat load, they will prove to be inefficient with whatever heating system you use, so are better replaced in any case.

Does the automatic wood pellet boiler have to run continuously?

An automatic wood pellet boiler does not need to run continuously. The boiler is fully automatic, and indeed has complete electronic control over the entire heating system. It will match the heating requirements by modulating (i.e. running at less than full capacity, something which wood pellet boilers do extremely efficiently unlike many wood chip or log boilers), and by cycling (i.e. running to a timetable or shutting down when there is no demand for heating). Of course, being fully automatic, the boiler re-ignites itself electronically whenever heat is required meaning that the building occupant need know nothing about the boiler and its controls.

How does the calorific value of pellets compare with oil and gas?

The calorific value of one litre of extra light oil amounts to 10 kWh, as does the calorific value of 1m³ of gas. It is therefore true that: 2kg pellets ~ 1 litre extra light oil ~ 1m³ gas. In terms of price pellets do significantly better than oil and LPG

How long can pellets be stored?

In dry conditions pellets can be stored indefinitely. Attention: if pellets come into contact with water or damp they will expand and be destroyed.

What are pellets?

Wood pellets are cylindrical pellets made of dry, natural wood waste (sawdust and shavings) with a diameter of 5-6 mm and a length of 10-25 mm. They are compressed under high pressure (without chemical binders) and have an extremely low water content. Wood pellets are supplied in kilograms.
1m³ of pellets weighs 650 kg.
As a comparison:
2.12kg pellets ……………….approx. 1 litre of oil
1 m³ pellets ………………….approx. 320 litres of oil

What is the calorific value of pellets?

The calorific value is standardised at 4.9 kWh/kg. Quality is important! For optimal functioning of your pellet heating system use only pellets which comply with Ö-norm or DIN-plus standards.

Where do I get the pellets and where are they stored?

Wood pellets are an indigenous resource and therefore a regionally available energy source. A small network of manufacturers and suppliers can supply a large area. The pellets are delivered by tanker truck, from which they are blown into the pellet store or tank. Unlike oil, pellets do not have an unpleasant smell. Pellets can be stored in dry storage rooms or purpose-built silo bags. The best storage system will depend on the building type, but an especially cost-efficient option is the OkoFEN FleXILO, which maximises all the available floor space. The Flexi-Tank can be installed in the boiler room, in an adjacent building or outdoors (if placed outdoors, the FleXILO must be protected against rain and UV-light).

Pellet delivery

Who are my local wood-pellet suppliers?

Wood pellets are readily available throughout the UK. We recommend Forever Fuels as local suppliers.

They are a leading specialist supplier of top quality (ENplus A1) virgin-fibre wood pellets, located in Newmarket, Suffolk. Please click here to see further details.

ENPlus Certification

The ENplus quality certification is a step towards establishing pellets as a widely used energy commodity. National standards and certifications are replaced by one uniform system based on the EN 14961-2 standard for wood pellets. In January 2012 the system was agreed upon by the European Pellet Council and enjoys the support of large parts of the European pellet sector.

From Spring 2015, if you are in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme or looking to install a boiler and receive the RHI funding, you will need buy your fuel from suppliers who are on the Biomass Suppliers List (biomass-suppliers-list.service.gov.uk). You will also need to keep receipts to prove where you have purchased your fuel from.

Why wood pellets? Does burning wood not generate pollution?

It is true that the combustion of wood fuel releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the amount of carbon dioxide released is only equal to the amount which was absorbed as the tree grew prior to felling. Unlike fossil fuels which are not being replaced as we burn them, wood fuel is an infinitely renewable resource: provided we replant as many trees as we fell, there will always be a supply of fuel and it will never provide a net increase in carbon dioxide levels.

Of course, a small amount of additional energy is required to harvest, process and transport wood pellets. At present, electricity is used for the production process and petrol or diesel for transport. However, being an indigenous fuel the distance which wood pellets are transported is far less than the distance oil travels to reach us, and the amount of energy used in the production of wood pellets is significantly less than that used to refine crude oil. Overall, when burnt efficiently and cleanly as it is in an Ökofen system, wood fuel is as renewable an energy source as you can get.


Wood Burner

How often should I have my chimney swept?

Chimneys need to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gasses. Regular sweeping will remove soot and other blockages such as bird nests. It also removes creosote, helping to prevent dangerous chimney fires. We recommend having your chimney Swept yearly which will also increase the efficiency of some appliances.

How should I store my wood?

When considering a wood burner, it is sensible to think about where you will store your wood supply. Customers tend to have dedicated log sheds which can be brought from many outlets. Ideally you should burn well seasoned wood in order to get the best results.

What type of wood burner do I need?

When our Engineers carry out a site survey, they will consider the size of the room the burner will go in to, the insulation of the home, the type of flue, the type of fuel you wish to burn, they style you prefer and your budget. This information will help our engineer suggest the type of burner required


Solar Panel

How does a Solar Panel work?

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells.
These cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity even on a cloudy day.
The cells convert sunlight into direct current (DC) power, which in turn is converted to alternating current (AC) power by the Solar Inverter so that household appliances and lighting can make use of it.

How much can I earn from installing solar panels?

Solar Energy Calculator:

The Solar Energy Calculator estimates the savings you could make by installing a solar PV system and the payment you could receive from the domestic Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme for eligible PV installations of up to 4kWp including new build.

Please click here to view the possible savings on your own home.

Is it worth investing in Solar Panels?

The ‘Energy Saving Trust’ estimates that the installation of solar PV panels on your roof will give you a tax-free return of around 12-15%, which sounds much more attractive than most savings accounts or retirement funds. This depends on the suitability of your home and roof, the number of panels you have fitted and how effectively they work. As an example, if you have a 4kw system installed (16 panels), installed on a property then you could save up to £15.5k over 20 years in electricity bills.

The Government have introduced the Feed-In Tariff which allows owners to receive a fixed rate for electricity generated annually and for any unused electricity exported back to the grid. You can enjoy a steady income for over a 20 year period with Solar PV

What are the benefits of Solar Panels?

They will reduce your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced as you will need to purchase less from the grid.

You will get paid for the electricity you generate: the government’s Feed-In Tariff pays for the
electricity generated, even if you use it all.

You automatically sell any spare electricity back to the grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you sell the surplus back to the grid.

You will reduce your home’s carbon footprint: solar electricity is a green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

What are the general costs as a guide?

The average domestic solar PV system is 3.5 to 4kWp and costs around £7,000 (including VAT at
5%), with the typical cost ranging from £5,500 to £9,500.

What properties are best suited to Solar PV panels?

The ideal home for solar PV panels is an unshaded south facing – facing or +/- 90 degrees of South – with a medium to large roof that does not have any features such as loft conversion and sky light windows that limit the space available.

We carry out a full assessment with all our Renewable project and will discuss the results with you


Solar Thermal

Does the Government support Solar Thermals?

Yes they do and you may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar
water heating system through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

Does the system only work in Summer?

The system works all year round, though you’ll need to heat the water further with a boiler or
immersion heater during the winter months.

How does Solar Thermal work?

Solar water heating systems use solar panels, sometimes called collectors, fitted in or on top of your existing roof covering. These collect heat from the sun and transfer this ‘free’ energy via a refrigeration circuit and heat exchanger to hot water that is stored in a hot water cylinder. It is possible to retro-fit a solar thermal system to work with an existing boiler or immersion heater, although we would usually recommend at the least a cylinder upgrade

What are the general costs as a guide?

The cost of installing a typical solar water heating system is around £4,800 (including VAT at 5%).
Savings are moderate – the system could provide most of your hot water in the summer, but much
less during colder weather.


Government Tariffs and Incentives

Does the Government support Solar Thermals?

Yes they do and you may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar
water heating system through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

How do I apply for RHI payments?

Please visit the Ofgem website: www.ofgem.gov.uk to apply. You will need the MCS installation certificate number, Energy Performance Certificate number and Green Deal Report number.

How long will the scheme last for?

Once you have been accepted on the RHI scheme you are guaranteed financial support for 7 years if your installation is domestic and 20 years if your installation is for non-domestic usage e.g. commercial, district heating and industrial.

Although the domestic scheme only pays over 7 years it is not a worse deal as you will receive the equivalent of 20 years payments over the period

How much can I earn from installing solar panels?

Solar Energy Calculator:

The Solar Energy Calculator estimates the savings you could make by installing a solar PV system and the payment you could receive from the domestic Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme for eligible PV installations of up to 4kWp including new build.

Please click here to view the possible savings on your own home.

Is it worth investing in Solar Panels?

The ‘Energy Saving Trust’ estimates that the installation of solar PV panels on your roof will give you a tax-free return of around 12-15%, which sounds much more attractive than most savings accounts or retirement funds. This depends on the suitability of your home and roof, the number of panels you have fitted and how effectively they work. As an example, if you have a 4kw system installed (16 panels), installed on a property then you could save up to £15.5k over 20 years in electricity bills.

The Government have introduced the Feed-In Tariff which allows owners to receive a fixed rate for electricity generated annually and for any unused electricity exported back to the grid. You can enjoy a steady income for over a 20 year period with Solar PV

The Green Deal

The government has decided to stop funding the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC). The GDFC was set up to lend money to Green Deal providers.

What are the benefits of Solar Panels?

They will reduce your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced as you will need to purchase less from the grid.

You will get paid for the electricity you generate: the government’s Feed-In Tariff pays for the
electricity generated, even if you use it all.

You automatically sell any spare electricity back to the grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you sell the surplus back to the grid.

You will reduce your home’s carbon footprint: solar electricity is a green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

What are the current renewable tariffs?

You will be paid for per kilowatt (kWH) of renewable energy used.

The non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) tariffs are as follows:

– Solar thermal – 19.74p per kWh
– Air source heat pump – 7.51p per kWh
– Biomass – 5.20p per kWh
– Ground source heat pump – 19.33p per kWh

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for both domestic and non-domestic installations are:

– Solar Photovoltaic (PV) – under 10kW 4.32p per kWh

– Solar Photovoltaic (PV) – 10kW – 50kW 3.89p per kWh

– Stand-alone Solar Photovoltaic (PV) – 0.74p per kWh

Tariffs are tax free and index linked

What are the home-owners responsibilities for the RHI?

OFGEM list the 6 responsibilities of a home-owner as part of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. Please note OFGEM can withhold payments if they believe someone isn’t complying with the scheme rules.

Please click here to visit the OFGEM website

What are the objects of the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme?

The main objective of the scheme is to increase the up take of renewable heating systems to reduce energy bills, lover carbon emissions and reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.

At the moment, around 80% of domestic heating is provided by some 18-20 million gas boilers.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

The renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a tax-free and index-linked payment for a fixed 7 year (domestic) or 20 year period (non-domestic), to encourage the uptake of renewable energy as a replacement for fossil fuel heating.

By driving change in a heat sector currently dominated by fossil fuel technologies, the RHI can help the UK meet EU targets to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy security. In addition Renewable energy provided 6.5 million jobs in 2013.

The Renewable Heat Incentive is is administered by Ofgem.

What technologies are covered under the Renewable Heat Incentive?

The eligible heating system technologies are as follows:

– Biomass boilers and biomass pellet stoves
– Air source heat pumps
– Ground (and water) source heat pumps
– Solar thermal panels

Would mine be a domestic or a non-domestic installation?

Domestic premises are defined in the Regulations as ‘single, self contained premises used wholly or mainly as a private residential dwelling where the fabric of the building has not been significantly adapted for non-residential use.’

The eligibility of premises is taken into account by the way in which they are classified for ratings purposes. For example, the regulators will consider premises to be single domestic based on whether that premises is treated as a separate and self-contained premises for council tax banding purposes.

If you have a district heating system for multiple domestic premises, you would be able to apply under the non-domestic RHI as long as there are more than one premises which are served by the heating system.

If you property is rated commercial or industrial then you will qualify as non-domestic. For all other situations like community, farming, process heating etc. please call the office for the latest expert advice.